Mother shares daughter’s story to raise autism awareness

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – One in 68 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder.

According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that’s a 30 percent increase from one in 88 children, two years ago.

Valerie Adkins’ 6-year-old daughter Jocelyn is like many kids when it comes to showing interest in things like books and iPads.

However, while she has similar interests, some may think Jocelyn is quite different than most children her age.

“She is non-verbal,” Adkins explained. “She only started walking about a year and a half ago.”

Jocelyn has autism. It wasn’t until she started at Cornerstone Autism Center in West Lafayette about a year ago, that she would start to develop skills that her mother said have been holding her back.

“She now explores our home and she tells us when she wants something to eat or drink with signs,” Adkins said. “She lets us know more of what she needs and we now have less tantrums. She was so delayed and I was so concerned with that. But it’s been nothing but great since we started at Cornerstone.”

Gina Warren-Abston is the Clinical Director at Cornerstone’s West Lafayette campus.

The center is an intense facility that specializes in working with autistic children. Each child is assigned to their own therapist.

The main goal at Cornerstone is to get children back in a traditional classroom.

Warren-Abston said autism spectrum disorders fall on a wide spectrum, and often, people don’t understand how autism affects those who are diagnosed with it.

“Some children will have trouble incorporating different sounds, or touch, or even light,” Warren-Abston explained. “Any visual sensory information, sometimes they can have trouble processing, which may make them behave in a way that is socially different from other children.”

However, Warren-Abston said children with autism are no different than children without it.

“They just look at the world a little different,” Warren-Abston explained. “They all have wants, they all have needs, and all have love and they all care for other people.”

For more information about Cornerstone, click here.

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